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New England State Flags

Flags for Outdoor Display, Indoor Display and the Related Flags for Each State.

The New England Flags are among some of the oldest in the nation, with many of the states having been first established as British colonies that united in the Revolution to form the United States of America. Please be sure to read some marvelous history of the Flags of New England reprinted below.

Maine State Flag Panel


The current Maine State Flag was established in February 1909. Its coat of arms shows a moose-and-pine-tree emblem on a shield supported by a farmer and a sailor; a ribbon below bears the state name, and above is the North Star and the Latin motto “Dirigo” (“I direct”). Maine also has a special naval flag resembling that of Massachusetts; it features a white background with a green pine tree.

Official Flag of the State of New Hampshire

New Hampshire

The Seal and basis of the State Flag of New Hampshire was adopted in 1784 following the Revolutionary War. On December 28, 1792, a regulation was adopted by the legislature that required regiments in the state militia to carry the national flag and regimental colors displaying the state seal. More than a century passed, however, before the adoption of a state flag for general purposes.

Official Flag of the State of Vermont


There is no extant record of a design for an official Vermont Flag prior to 1804, although Ira Allen's design—common to both the Great Seal of Vermont and the coat of arms of Vermont—dates to 1778.[7] While an official government flag might not have existed prior to 1804, the Vermont militia—known as the Green Mountain Boys—use of the Flag of the Green Mountain Boys as far back as 1777.

Official Flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


The flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the Flag of Massachusetts. It has been represented by official but limited-purpose flags since 1676, though until 1908 it had no state flag per se to represent its government. A variant of the white flag with blue seal was carried by each of the Massachusetts volunteer regiments during the American Civil War alongside the National Colors.

Official Flag of Connecticut


The design for the Connecticut State Flag comes from the seal of Saybrook Colony, designed by George Fenwick when it was established in 1639. That seal depicted 15 grapevines and a scroll reading "Sustinet qui transtulit". When Connecticut Colony bought Saybrook in 1644, the seal transferred to Connecticut Colony. On October 25, 1711, the seal was reduced the number of grapevines to three, oldest settlements.

The official flag of the State of Rhode Island

Rhode Island

The present Rhode Island Flag was formally adopted in 1897. As early as the 1640s, the anchor and "hope" were found on the Rhode Island Seal, and the seal's words and emblems were likely inspired by the biblical phrase "hope we have as an anchor of the soul," found in Hebrews, Verse 6:18-19. Rhode Island's earliest colonists were fleeing persecution in Massachusetts due to their religious beliefs.

The Settlement of New England

New England is the north east corner of the United States, comprising the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. This region was originally inhabited by several Amerindian tribes; later it was the site of some of the earliest European settlements in North America.

The Pine Tree in New England Flags

The history of the Pine Tree as a symbol of New England probably predates the European colonial settlements. In eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire and the southern corner of Maine, there once lived a nomadic tribe of Amerindians known as the Penacook. "Penacook" is an Algonquin word meaning "Children of the Pine Tree." The Penacook people have been credited with teaching the Pilgrims, those settlers of the Plymouth Colony of Eastern Massachusetts, much needed survival skills when the colonists were starving to death during the winter of 1621-22. The forests surrounding the settlement were teeming with game and wild foods unfamiliar to the Pilgrims and it was the Penacooks who showed them these new things. According to some accounts, the Penacooks also taught the Pilgrims elementary democracy, which the Penacooks, in turn, had learned from the Five Nations (later six) of the Iroquois Confederacy. The emblem of the Iroquois from the beginning of their history to the present day is the "Tree of the Great Peace," a White Pine Tree with an Eagle perched on the top of it.

The First Seal of The Plymouth Colony

In 1629, the Plymouth Colony adopted a seal that featured a shield with a Saint George's cross on it, in between the arms of which is a scene repeated four times of a human figure on one knee holding up something in offering (sometimes described as a heart or as a flame) between two trees.

Later, in 1639, the Massachusetts Bay settlers adopted a seal that featured an Amerindian in the center holding an unstrung bow and a down-pointed arrow (symbols of peace and the personal emblems of Samoset, who was one of the two Amerindians who had been captured by the English, taken to England and taught English and returned to New England in time to greet the Pilgrims in their own language, which they thought was a sign from God). Out of his mouth is a ribbon with the caption "Come over and help us" on it and on either side there are two trees. On the left is a Pine Tree and on the right is an Oak Tree. The Oak Tree is a traditional symbol of England; could the Pine be the traditional symbol of the natives of New England?

The Pine Tree has appeared on the Massachusetts Coat of Arms (Reverse) and Naval Flag; the first Seal of New Hampshire (1776); the Coat of Arms, Seal and present Flag of Vermont; the Coat of Arms, Seal, and all the Flags, past and present, of Maine.

Massachusetts Bay Colony was the scene of "The Great Migration" wherein thousands of religious dissenters came over to the New World to make a new life for themselves in the company of "saints" and other Puritans. Right off quick they passed laws regulating social behavior and the observance of the Sabbath and the ministers went to great pains to condemn the traditional "idols" of the established church (not to mention Popery). In 1636, following a sermon by Roger Williams (who was later ousted from Massachusetts for being too liberal and went on to found the Rhode Island Colony) condemning the cross as a symbol of the Anti-Christ, the Governor of the Colony, John Endicott, ordered the Standard Bearers of the Colony to remove the St. Georges Cross from their flags. Before this was done, however, the Great and General Court hauled Endicott in for examination, found that he had "exceeded the limits of his calling" and punished him by forbidding him from holding public office for one full year! Then they gave the Standard Bearers permission to devise any kind of flag they wanted and, without exception, they removed the crosses from their flags. From that time on until sometime about 50 years later, the unofficial flag of Massachusetts Bay was Red with a White Canton.

Unofficial Flag of Massachusetts Bay Colony


More than a generation later, the Puritans having lost some of

their hold on the beliefs of the Massachusetts settlers, the St. George's cross

again begins to appear on the flags. In a manuscript, "Insignia Navalia by

Lt. Gradon, 1686," an illustration of the "New England" Jack

appears, a white flag with a red St. George's Cross with an Oak tree in the

canton. Other documents from approximately this time period show the red ensign

with the red St. George's Cross on a white canton and a green tree in the canton

of the cross.

The first known flag to represent the Massachusetts Bay Colony

The First Official Flag of New England


The species of tree in the earliest drawings apparently is not critical, sometimes looking like a Pine, sometimes like an Oak. It is described as the "Red Flag of New England," even though one source labels it as such immediately below an illustration colored blue! (the caption on the original document is in French and Dutch, not English, but I simulate it here in English.)

The above history is reprinted from a compilation of records made by Dave Martucci on his site,


One of the early flags representing the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The Second Official Flag of New England


When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, the Massachusetts Militia Men remembered their flag and modified it by removing the Cross of St. George and enlarging the Pine Tree. This flag is depicted in the famous painting by Jonathan Trumbell of "The Battle of Bunker Hill," which he painted in 1785, after the war was over. Trumbell was an officer in the Revolutionary Army and was in Massachusetts at the time of the battle, but he did not participate in that battle.

The 3rd rendition of a flag to represent the Massachusetts Bay Colony

The Third Official Flag of New England

{Bunker Hill Flag, 1775- ?)

The Massachusetts Navy adopted a White Flag with a Green Pine Tree in the center and the motto "An Appeal To Heaven" below in 1775, probably intentionally the jack form of the New England Flag. This flag, minus the motto, was confirmed in 1971 as the Maritime Flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; a variant with the addition of a blue anchor, the State name and motto was adopted by the State of Maine in 1939 as that State's Maritime Flag. The Third New England Flag was adopted by Lincoln County, Maine as their flag in 1977. The Jack form of the First New England Flag was used by the Town of York, Maine as their flag during the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the Town on August 5, 1902.

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